Economic growth forecast revised downwards

The Central Bank has revised its forecast for growth in the economy downwards for the rest of the year, RTE reports.

In its latest quarterly bulletin, the Central Bank says it expects Gross Domestic Product, the country's overall economic output, to grow by 0.2% this year, down from its previous predictions of a 0.8% growth in GDP.

It also forecasts Gross National Product, the economic output without taking multinationals into account, will fall by around 1.7%, compared to a previously forecasted fall of 1%.

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However the Central Bank also says that after a "severe and protracted" contraction last year and the year before, activity in the economy will stabilize in 2010.

The bank says the recovery is unbalanced in nature, because it is driven mainly by exports, as domestic demand continues to fall.

It says weakness in consumer demand reflects the weak trend in disposable incomes.

The forecast for unemployment is unchanged since July.

It says labor market conditions remain weak and that the average rate of unemployment will be 13.5% this year, falling to 13.3% next year.